Scratch Pads Feature


We were lucky enough to be featured in industry magazine Scratch for their regular feature, 'Scratch Pads'. Take a look at the gorgeous spreads they created showing off our beautiful space along with an interview with owners Dean, Natalie and Beckie. 

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A well-thought plan came into action when the perfect property was spotted by sisters, Natalie and Beckie Beeley. Working alongside Natalie’s partner, Dean Robinson, the new venture saw savvy business skills and beauty know-how combine and Preen opened in August 2016, standing pretty on the corner of St Peter’s Square in Stockport, striking with its turquoise exterior against the historical town’s backdrop.

While Beckie had been busy forging a career in the beauty industry, owning a salon in Spain and teaching beauty at a college, Natalie had been travelling the globe, producing shoots for brands such as Evans, Toni & Guy and Habitat. “I was working in regeneration and recruitment in London,” reveals Dean. “We were looking for something to invest in and Natalie mentioned seeing nail bars on every corner in New York. I suggested this would be a great business opportunity, particularly with Beckie’s background. Natalie managed to convince Beckie to lend her expertise and partner up with us.”

“While Natalie and Dean lived in London, I was living in Stockport,” Beckie continues. “I came across this amazing property on a random commercial property search – a weird hobby of mine!I mentioned to Natalie that it would be perfect in a few years, but Natalie immediately booked me an appointment to see it.”

Striking lucky with finding the perfect property, the location has also served the business well. “Stockport is currently undergoing mass regeneration, encouraging lots of independent businesses into the area,” explains Dean. “We have lots of business neighbours who also offer great quality products and services.”

“There are also plenty of salons in Stockport and the surrounding areas of Cheshire, but we believe none offer the wide variety of treatments we do,” beams Beckie. “We specialise in sculpted L&P acrylic services and offer trending nail art techniques which has won us a loyal following.”

This passion for high standards in the industry has seen the salon also open its doors as an academy. “We offer courses in nails, lashes and brows with more courses to come,” explains Natalie. “Beckie’s Complete Nail Technician course is extremely successful and we have employed several people that have completed it.”

With the aim to ‘empower both men and women, one treatment at a time’, the salon’s interior is suitably calm, cool and neutral. “We always knew we wanted something fresh, gender-neutral and modern,” explains Natalie. “During the planning stage, we went a little Pinterest-crazy but collated and shared ideas for the salon space. It came together as we researched and sourced everything ourselves from various outlets.”

Bursting with ideas, the three business partners set about creating the perfect space spread across two floors. Flooded with natural light, visitors to the salon are welcomed with a bright and airy space and a smart reception desk, which declares the salon’s name in a warming bronze tone. Behind, the salon’s chatty vibe comes into its element as an inviting waiting area provides clients a space in which to relax.

Chic Scandi-style chairs in minimalist tones of grey surround a table, neatly piled with arty books. Clients are welcome to refreshments, as behind sits a bar complete with a coffee machine and mini bar fridge. Above, a feature wall of blackboard paint instructs clients to ‘sit, relax and enjoy’, as well as detailing the salon’s Wi-Fi code and its social media handles for sharing their all-important nails.

To the left, a long, pristine white nail desk spans the length of this side of the salon. With the communal space, the team can tend to four nail clients at once, with plush grey towels atop each table emblazed with Preen’s logo in its signature turquoise shade. Above hangs copper pendant lighting, providing a warming light after daylight has passed.

To the right of the waiting area, a raised platform sees an indulgent pedicure area. Two grey armchairs, complete with crisp white V-shaped pillows and a faux fur throw, ensure ultimate client comfort. Beside each chair sits a bronze side table which sees a set of white headphones, allowing guests to plug their own devices in to utterly unwind with their own music. The specially-crafted raised area also ensures ease for the technician, as the perfectly- placed copper pedicure bowls are easily filled thanks to a smart mixer tap that emerges from the platform’s floor.

As well as nail services, the ground floor sees the salon’s make-up and brow bar. Running the full length of the salon’s right-handwall, four pale wooden dressing tables sit under lightbulb mirrors. Tucked away, the floor also sees two private treatment rooms boasting serene seclusion from the buzzy atmosphere of the salon.

“Downstairs, we have an open plan space for our hairdressing setup,” explains Beckie. “We also have three more peaceful treatment rooms, our team’s much-loved staff room and our super ‘Instagrammable’ bathroom!” As promised, the toilet facilities in the salon boast a fun, upbeat vibe. The walls are lined withpaper detailed with tropical leaves, while clients are invited to interact with a chalkboard selfie wall, complete with the hashtag ‘#preenyourself’. Contrasting the dark paint, a bright pink neon sign declares ‘good vibes only’.

“We are a modern, cool place of relaxation which also knows how to turn up the dial to ‘party’ on a Friday night.” jokes Natalie. “Drake on the stereo and prosecco supplied by us!”

Although the salon’s charming, fun side is obvious, don’t be fooled – this is a hardworking setup. Each member of the trio brings individual expertise to the business. Beckie ensures clients receive the best possible treatments, Dean turns his hand to the salon’s marketing and social media, and Natalie deals with back of house tasks, including the business’ accounts and paperwork. However, demand has been such in the salon that Natalie, who had initially planned to work solely behind the scenes, trained under Beckie’s watch to help tend to the bursting client book. The hard work of the salon’s team of 15, including Natalie and Beckie, sees that high standards are maintained and customer expectations are met.

“Natalie and I truly believe in creating our own ‘normal’,” smiles Dean. “We have a two-year-old son and our aim is to spend as much time with him as possible while also nurturing our businesses. In addition, Beckie has two children and several businesses. We all share a passion for building something our children can be proud of. Our laptops are never far from our knees even when we’re away from the salon, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“We pride ourselves on customer experience,” adds Dean.“Our team members really pride themselves on being at the top of their game and offering clients the best possible service.”

This ethos has won Preen a loyal clientele and an appointment schedule booked far in advance. “Sculpted acrylic nails and Russian volume lashes are our specialty,” explains Beckie.“We are known for our cool, fun and glam nail designs. Our work is impeccable and our crystals don’t budge! NSI is our brand of choice for L&P acrylic enhancements as it’s trusted and well established, and most of our techs have always used it.”

“Clients tell us they have started conversations with strangers because they’ve noticed ‘Preen’ nails on their fingers!” laughs Dean. “In the social media age, it’s key to have a strong, unique selling point and nails are certainly ours.

“As a result, our lash and nail appointments are booked way in advance, especially our coveted evening and weekend slots. Our clients often book several months of appointments at once.”

“We are passionate about women,” concludes Natalie. “Seeing how a woman’s nails can change or uplift her mood is something that never tires. Women are capable of so much, so ensuring their nails make them feel fantastic is a pleasure! Within our salon, we’ve created a sisterhood of creativity and relaxation.”